How do you go from being a Glasgow teenager to an up-and-coming Hollywood actor? Keeping an eye on Declan Michael Laird for the past several years would give you some ideas about the hard work, perseverance, training and adaptability required. The Glasgow area young man has just turned 24 and is living in Hollywood, picking up work in film, games and commercials. When not running lines he’s likely to be found in a gym, martial arts class, playing football with other stars – or helping out on #Skid Row.

What do we discuss first? The weather, in time-honoured British fashion. It’s snow and hailstones here – but unsurprisingly not in Hollywood: “It’s not as warm as it usually is, but you have to love the sun,” he tells me; chance would be a fine thing.

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Laird always sounds upbeat, enthused and filled with energy – but I notice he’s a little less so today, and I ask about that.

Working on Skid Row

“I’m really tired – every Thursday morning I do outreach work on Skid Row. I don’t know if you’re familiar; it’s the highest populated area of homelessness in the US; it’s virtually a homeless city in downtown LA.

“It’s true – if you didn’t know Skid Row exists. In arguably the glitziest city in one of the richest countries – a city of homelessness.

"Honestly, it’s people suffering from mental health problems, veterans – just tossed into this community. It’s crazy – the US govt flies the New York homeless to LA to the west coast in winter so they don’t die.’

"He’s probably worked on this project for five months. It’s not his first

"I go down there every Thursday morning around 6:30; we carpool at 5:45 and we serve breakfast or alternate getting coffee, walking around talking to people, which I find the most fun.

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It’s about helping people and giving back. I meet fascinating people down there. There are certain people who have money who live there – they have cash and have been there for 15 - 20 years; it’s all they know. It’s like Stockholm Syndrome."

We talk about how people become institutionalised. When we last spoke it was months ago, Declan was in early stages for an online

We talk about film

"I did a short film that was produced by Jeffrey Chernoz, proof of concept. Blood brothers set in WW1, it’s been 100 years since that war and it’s a sort of memorial to the soldiers. I am an 18-year-old soldier on the front lines who gets shell-shocked. Essentially, they were child soldiers. I can’t even imagine going to the front line.

"He finds solitude in a barn and is trying to hide. He hears a rattling, and essentially there is a young German in there trying to do the same thing. They begin to talk and the thing is they are both 18 year olds fighting for something they don’t’ believe in; they don’t care about it, they are fighting because they are told to.

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It makes me think am I any different than a 23-year-old that was born in Syria. He was born in Syria and I was born here. I was given more opportunities. The film has been submitted to all the festivals – it was produced by Chernoff – he is the ex-producer for Star Wars, Star Trek. Hopefully it will be made into a feature film."

This seems to both of us a good time for anti-war films.

"A pilot out on Amazon which was part of the last Tom Clancy video game. In the game, I do motion capture which is when they put you in all black with the lightbulbs on you and lots of camera picking up every eyebrow twitch. I do lots of jujitsu and a lot of martial arts and that came into it a lot along with my acting that got me the role; there’s a lot of fighting in it. So, I did that and it was great. Then I got a phone call, which was completely unexpected. For the first time ever for a promotion for the game they were going to do a big promotional prequel live action minute 45-minute episode which would be the beginning of the game. That’s on Amazon Prime."

I wish Declan a happy belated birthday; he turned 24 in April.

‘I’ll now be 24 for about 6 years in Hollywood" – we laugh. I bet he can get away with it as well.

The dollar shave with Carmen Electra

"I went for another commercial and the guy who was cast – I didn’t get the role – but one of the producers works with print campaigns – the actor they had for the commercial, something happened and he had to drop out but it was meant to film the next day. The producer saw me the day before and said ‘I saw an actor the day before who would be perfect for this’ so out of nowhere saying that I’ve been booked for a print advert – a national campaign – and I’m like ‘what?’ I’m thinking ‘when did I audition for this? I don’t remember’ – and they said no, you didn’t audition. They said by the way, the other model is going to be Carmen Elektra. When you’re 14 you have the posters up, you know.

His next film he plays a heroin addict

I get more star struck by athletes by anyone. I was in a café last summer when the Barcelona and Real Madrid players had their evening tournament in Los Angeles and Barcelona player Neymar walked into the café; I was like a one direction 13 year-old girl. I was just staring at this guy. My friends were like ‘what’s wrong with you?’

"I’m still working with #Street Soccer Scotland; I’m one of their American Ambassadors. I try to spread the word when I can. I’ve taken a bunch of Street Soccer information to Skid Row and given it out. I play football with Rod Stewart on Wednesdays which is a bit odd and we’ve taken a photo for them.

"I start a film next month called the Lion’s Den. I play a heroin addict..."

I cut him off there -surprised that someone who looks both very young and very innocent gets dark roles like heroin addicts and rapists.

"Know what I think it is? I think, not to make Scotland sound morbid, but we grow up around edgy characters no matter how nice you are and where you grow up, but here in LA you just don’t meet that kind of person. You take all that and use it – facial expressions – making your face look like someone you’d like to punch. I’ve never seen De Niro worried about what he looks like whereas a lot of people here do worry about what they look like.

"So, I play the lead’s best friend. The lead is the writer of the movie and it’s about life growing up in the Bronx. It’s a very dark tale he got his sister into heroin and she died in the room with them and they left her there for three days – that’s the opening of the film and then they try to deal with it. My character is a good person at heart and he blames himself for it.

"One of the other actors is John Redlinginer – been in Suits; Mia Frampton plays the sister – she won The Voice here; she’s beautiful. And everyone else is sort of up and coming. It’s not a huge budget, not big enough to have A list actors in it. To me it sounds like a film people will look back at and see the start of a lot of great careers."

A new series in the making

"I’ve got a great series that I’m talking about– not a done deal yet – I’m producing that Casino story with Paula Wagner; she produced all the Mission Impossible movies; she was head of MGM studios; Tom Cruise was her producing partner. My writing partner and I have a series idea, The Wake up – 10 episodes for the online digital market which is becoming a big, big player out here. Every episode starts with a literal wake-up, the protagonist wakes up in a precarious situation and has to figure what’s going on and they have an actual awakening in their life, and we want the audience to have that wake up to. It’s like a public service announcement they really don’t know what they’re getting and they’re involved in the story; wake up to responsible drinking; wake up to spouse abuse, wake up to the environment, racism, women’s rights, homophobia…

"For me when you see these PSAs on TV or you see people talking about a certain issue it’s not grasping people my age, like ‘you should be responsible when you drink’

Declan - my thoughts

I've interviewed Declan before; our chats are always enjoyable, pretence-free experiences. In Laird I see someone who has confidence in his abilities but who lacks vanity. He genuinely wants to stretch himself to the limit and wants to help others. He will do both - and I expect we will see a lot more from him soon. In a town like LA filled with people trying to look good, it's wonderful to come across someone wanting to do good.